Ma-Xi meeting this year unlikely: Beijing scholar
Central News Agency
2014-02-11 11:05 PM
Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) The prospects for a meeting between the leaders on each side of the Taiwan Strait are unlikely this year, because neither side "is ready for that," a Chinese scholar said Tuesday. Professor Zheng Zhenqing of Tsinghua University in Beijing noted that "a lot of conditions are required" for a meeting between Republic of China President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Among them, there must be substantive issues for discussion and any meeting should not be held merely as a "meeting for meeting's sake." It is obvious that both sides are not yet ready for such a meeting, Zheng said, noting that not only the time and venue, but also the content of the talks, will require planning. Zheng made the remarks after Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said that the issue of a possible Ma-Xi meeting was not raised in his historic meeting in Nanjing earlier in the day with his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, head of Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO). Wang had said previously that if the two leaders were to meet, this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in October in Beijing would be the most appropriate occasion. Zheng said that the Wang-Zhang meeting discussed issues related to the MAC and the TAO, but that a meeting of the leaders across the Taiwan Strait would be "strategic" and "political" in nature, and not something that could be held on the spur of the moment. In Taiwan, meanwhile, the sentiment also seemed to be that conditions for such a meeting are not yet ripe. Legislator Chiang Chi-chen of the ruling Kuomintang said that Wang's meeting with Zhang heralded the beginning of official negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. But talk about a Ma-Xi meeting is premature, Chiang said, adding that follow-up developments from the Wang-Zhang meeting could indicate whether the possibility of a Ma-Xi meeting exists. His colleague, Legislator Lin Yu-fang, was more optimistic, saying that if the two sides of the strait can continue to move forward, a Ma-Xi meeting is very likely to take place. However, former Legislator Lin Cho-shui of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the possibility of such a meeting is still remote, while former DPP Legislator Hung Chi-chang said that "there is still a long way to go" before such a meeting can take place. Professor Chang Wu-yuch of Tamkang University said that currently, Taipei and Beijing are still in the initial stage of political interaction and development of mutual trust, and are still in the process of cementing such developments, far from the stage of talking about a Ma-Xi meeting. "The Wang-Zhang meeting has injected fresh interaction into cross-strait relations, but it is not necessarily directly related to contributing to a Ma-Xi meeting," Chang added. (By Lawrence Chiu, Tseng Ying-yu and Lilian Wu)
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